New holiday light display honors Waseca fair board member

Vince Peterson was a board member of the Waseca County Free Fair for almost 60 years.
Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 9:17 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 28, 2021 at 10:34 PM CST
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WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - The Waseca County Fairgrounds have been transformed into a winter wonderland to honor a special person.

Vince Peterson was a board member of the Waseca County Free Fair for almost 60 years.

“He loved the Waseca Fair, and he loved Christmas, so this is like both,” said WCFF Director Jennie Johnson.

Peterson is remembered by many for his involvement in the annual summer fair.

To Christmas lovers, however, he was best known for his holiday light display.

“Vince and his wife did a huge holiday lights display at their farm in rural New Richland,” stated WCFF Secretary and Treasurer Robin Dulas.

For years, Peterson rang in the season by decorating his farm and inviting visitors to drive through.

He kept the tradition going for as long as his health allowed.

When it started to decline a few years ago, Peterson sold many of his displays and gave the money to charity.

He died in August at the age of 89.

But now, Peterson’s displays are making a comeback at the place he loved most.

For the first time ever, it was brought to the fairgrounds.

“To kind of combine the fair and the lights in memory of Vince has been amazing,” Dulas added.

It’s all thanks to his WCFF colleagues who brought the tradition back in Peterson’s memory.

More than 20 local organizations came together to hang lights and assemble displays.

Johnson mentioned, “We had a couple people donate their stuff that they had purchased from him. They donated it back to us, and then we added so much more and asked clubs and other businesses to bring out their own displays.”

Visitors can walk or drive through Friday and Saturday evenings through Dec. 11.

They can also vote for their favorite displays.

“Santa is here, we’ve got our FFA barnyard, we have little cows and goats, fun displays all over the place,” Dulas listed.

Admission is free, but food shelf and homeless shelter donations are being collected.

WCFF plans to make it an annual event.

“We hope every year to make it a little bit bigger, because that is what Vince did. Every year, he made it a little bit bigger and added one more thing,” Johnson explained.

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